Dental implants do more than simply replace a missing tooth. As the only tooth replacement option that actually replaces a tooth’s missing root, implants are uniquely positioned to provide the bearer with many exceptional advantages. These advantages include a boost for your self-esteem and improvement of the health of your mouth.
In order to understand how wonderful dental implants are, it is important to understand the negative effects of missing teeth. Many of these negative effects go unnoticed until you restore the missing teeth. We hear patients say, after they have dental implants, that they didn’t realize how much their missing teeth had bothered them.
Unless your missing tooth is the last in the mouth, you probably feel a little self-conscious about anyone else noticing it. Many people with teeth missing in a visible area will hold a hand up to cover their laughter or smile with their lips closed. This can create the false impression that you are unfriendly or shy, when in fact, you just don’t like your smile.
Missing teeth makes you look older than you actually are. Even with the lips together, a missing tooth can allow the cheeks or lips to collapse inward. This creates a sunken, wrinkled look to the face. The more teeth you are missing, the worse this aging effect becomes.
Each tooth provides surface area for chewing food. Missing even a single tooth decreases your chewing function because you have less surface area for cutting and grinding food. Many people tell us that they did not realize how much chewing force they had lost until they restored it with dental implants.
The bones in our upper and lower jaws exist to surround and support teeth. When teeth are no longer present, the bone slowly deteriorates. This loss of jawbone affects one’s appearance (by adding to that sunken appearance we discussed earlier) and the ability to support teeth replacement options in the future.
Replacing missing teeth will help fight most of the negative effects we covered in the previous section. Each tooth replacement option has multiple advantages and disadvantages that you must consider. They will all restore chewing function to some degree, and they will provide a visible tooth replacement (although some are not as cosmetically pleasing as others).
The biggest health benefit of replacing missing teeth is the support it provides to your body’s digestion of nutrients, which affects overall health. Chewing is the first essential step in the digestive process. It manually breaks down large particles of food into pieces that are easy to swallow. It also exposes the food to salivary enzymes that break down large molecular structures.
Without chewing well, you cannot properly digest food and obtain the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
There are multiple advantages of replacing missing teeth that are specific to dental implants. They each stem from the implant’s connection into the jawbone as a replacement of the tooth’s root.
Just like a natural tooth, a dental implant receives its support from the surrounding jawbone. Having a firm foundation in healthy bone enables an implant to function as well as a healthy natural tooth, and better than an unhealthy one.
Because a dental implant replaces the root of a missing tooth, the “tooth” emerges from the gums as a natural tooth does. This emergence makes it look most like a natural tooth of all the replacement options.
Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants require no support from other teeth in the dental arch. Because there is no additional force placed on other teeth, they actually have a healthier long-term prognosis. The extra chewing burden placed on teeth that support bridges or partials weakens them over time, giving them a higher risk for cavities, gum disease, and fractures. Dental implants bear all of their own chewing force and put no additional burden on the surrounding teeth!
The presence of dental implants in the jawbone “fools” the bone into thinking a tooth is present. This preserves and maintains the dimensions of a healthy jawbone just as a natural tooth would. Preserving your jawbone is good for your appearance and your future needs.
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today to schedule an implant consultation with one of our implant experts. We will answer all of your questions about dental implants and assess your specific situation to determine how implants can help you! Call us at (845) 259-2500 or complete our online contact form today!